What’s on your billboard?

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If you had the opportunity to put up a billboard to advertise anything– what would it be?

As I sat in the drive thru line at a McDonalds recently, a parked minivan grabbed my attention.  It was white, had a ladder on top of it, and I knew it had to be a work vehicle.  But there was something different about it- on both sides of the van there was a picture of the cross with the words ‘One Way” and then beside the picture it said- “Christ” The WAY to heaven- John 14:6.  The license plate was also a reference to the same scripture.

It struck me how profound this was.

In a day where people want to advertise EVERYTHING-

their businesses,

their political affiliations,

etc…

here was someone using their “billboard” to point people to Jesus!

Over the front tires on either side in very small print was the name of their business and a phone number.  I just happened to see that the business was called “Schock Electric”.

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What an encouragement to see this today- and a great reminder to think about this – what are you advertising?

 

Jesus IS the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.

 

ebb and flow

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this morning’s sunrise…

Though days and nights may ebb and flow

up and down, around they go

our circumstances- much the same

but steadfast always is Your Name

My Solid Rock- Emmanuel!

When I choose to worship- all is well! 

I lift my hands, my voice I raise

To You, I sing my songs of praise!

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Psalm 18:2

His mercy is new

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intrigued by morning’s glow

of a winter sunrise

I leash up my best friend

to take him out and feast our eyes

on the beautiful light of dawn

as we watch Him paint away-

once again, I am reminded

His mercy is new today 

I have not been sleeping well lately.  I admit that I have complained a little about this because it leaves me feeling tired.  All the time.

I love how God renews, refreshes, and reveals little things to me- when I am paying attention.  Just yesterday, in our women’s small group at church, we watched a short video of a sermon about being hungry.  The pastor said his very favorite part of the day was at 4 am when he woke up and got to spend time alone with God- all by himself.  He said he couldn’t wait for this time every day!

Yep, I had to gulp a little when I heard him say that.  Because lately, I have been so frustrated that I haven’t been able to get a full night’s sleep.  When I see the clock at 2, 3, and 4am…I have been less than thrilled.

He really gave me grace this morning, because I didn’t see the clock until 5am!  And when I woke up, I kept hearing that pastor say that was his favorite time.

Yes- it could be mine, too… if I commit it to Him…

And so this morning- I did.

Imagine my delight when I walked into the living room, and saw the pink glow of the sunrise coming through the window. I leashed up my dog and took him out with me. It was gorgeous.  And I love that the most beautiful part was hidden behind the trees.  You have to intentionally look for it.

Just like we have to intentionally look for Him!

And the EARLIER in the day- the BETTER!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.  Psalm 143:8

Dry Beds

FullSizeRenderI do not have a thumb of green-

I have a thumb of death.    

Every living plant we’ve had-

I’ve choked it of its breath. 

O how I wish I could preserve

this beauty’s crimson hue

But tossing out its blackened husk

Is likely what I’ll do.  

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My track record of keeping plants alive is pretty dismal.  My husband says I have a thumb of death.  To this date, I have been unable to keep anything that grows alive- except for my children, of course! Every year my husband brings home a beautiful poinsettia from his office.  The one he brought home this year is so big, it’s actually wider than our Christmas tree!  The blooms are simply gorgeous.  But I am already having pity on this poor plant because of my horrible track record.

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But like all growing things- a little TLC goes a long way.  The truth of the matter is that I simply forget to water them.  I take them for granted, and then when I notice those blooms aren’t smiling back at me- well, they are too far gone to bring them back.

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 So, here I am again… with another chance to keep this poinsettia alive.  I am thankful that He gives us second chances. Even when I have waited far too long to drink His water, when I know that my “bed” is dry- it’s never too late.  As long as there is breath in our bodies- His grace is sufficient for us when we come to Him.

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.  John 4:14

Lord, help me remember to come to You…. and help me tend to all the living things in my life!

Do you ever wonder?

An overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Do you ever wonder 

if God has hands?

And how He formed the face

of this beautiful land?

How He carved the mountains

and the valley below

Did He hand-pick every green thing

and tell them all to grow?

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder if God has hands?

My girls and I were driving around recently and we were talking about the mountains.  I asked them how they thought God might have made them. Do you think God has real hands like we do? They said, “of course He does!!” without giving it a second thought.  Then we talked about how cool that would be for God to take this ball of clay in His big hands and smooth it down, and then just crumple little bits at a time to make all the little mountains and valleys…

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11

I adore these little conversations when I get to see God through my children’s eyes. He is the source of everything– and He is the creator of creativity itself!  I am so thankful He gave us hands to use. I feel most alive when I am using my hands- either by making music, or writing…or the wonderful feeling I get when I hold hands with my husband or our children. I don’t know if He really has hands or not…but our conversation got me thinking-
I know that He touches me.
And that He holds me.
and He continues to mold me and shape me every day of my life.
And He has handed us the most precious gift- the gift of eternal life, and the abundant joy of fellowship with Him through His Spirit every day of our lives.
For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.  Psalm 92:4 
I thank You, Father, for Your hands of mercy
I thank You for Your hands of grace
I thank You for Your hands of love. 

Dancing with Jesus

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The sun streaming through the trees on a recent walk… 

I woke up one morning filled with joy-so much so, that I couldn’t stop smiling!  God had answered a very specific prayer of mine in a very special way. I didn’t call anyone to share the good news- I simply spent the day being quiet with Him- and that made the day all the more special!  Doing ordinary, everyday tasks, I felt His presence with me all day.

You will show me the way of life,
    granting me the joy of your presence
    and the pleasures of living with you forever  Psalm 16:11

I had to drive into town and run a few errands- nothing special- but He was there. I remember there being lots of road work and traffic- things that would normally irritate me- but as I sat there in the car, I felt His hand in mine.  It didn’t matter what I did or where I went, feeling His presence in such a way was the most wonderful thing I could have imagined.  As I was driving home from running errands, I noticed the sunlight glittering through the trees.  I remember exactly where I was on the road when I had this vision…

A picture flashed in my mind. It was instantaneous, and yet it felt like an eternity.  As I drove up the curvy road, I saw a vision of Jesus and I holding hands- standing with our arms extended.  We twirled in circles and danced around like children. Sunlight sparkled all around us and there were flowers everywhere.  And then it was gone. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought about what it will be like to be in heaven, worshipping Him for all eternity.

I told my husband about my experience the next day.  I shared with him how I felt His presence all day, and about catching this glimpse of what heaven might be like.  He smiled at me and said it sounded like I needed to write a song about it… and so I did!

“Dancing With Jesus”

It’s a new day

I’m singing your praises

thankful and grateful for all that you are

Driving around

sun shining down

and I see a vision of 

You and me

Your presence is real

I’m moved in my soul

I grab Your hands

as we sway to and fro

I’m dancing with Jesus

Singing, rejoicing, 

and worshipping Him

I’m dancing with Jesus

I rest in Your arms and I know

You are with me wherever I go…

A moment it was

frozen in time

a glimmer of heaven

and what it might be

Amazing and sweet

feeling complete

I surrender all that I am 

at your feet..

How sweet it will be

when Your face, I see

when I get to heaven

and dance with You there

Forever more

and always I’m Yours

In your presence I will 

forever adore You 

Standing Tall

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Standing tall- a radiant sunflower on a recent day trip

 Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong- 1 Corinthians 16:13

It’s the little things that make me smile.  Sunflowers are one of those things.  I can’t get enough of them.  A daydreamer at heart- I could stare at them all day if I’d let myself!  I remember seeing them when I was young, and wondering how on earth they could have such a huge, beautiful bloom and still stand so tall on such a thin stalk.

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God’s business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.  Psalm 11:7 (MSG)

I remember when I was in elementary school feeling self-conscious of how tall I was. Feeling like a giant, I often walked around with hunched shoulders, hoping it would allow me to fit in and not be noticed by others for my tallness. Standing tall meant that I would be standing out above the crowd- literally. It was during my adolescence that I took notice of sunflowers and how beautiful they are.  If they somehow had the strength to stand tall, certainly I could find it the strength to embrace my tallness and do the same.  I began to realize all the beautiful things I missed out on seeing by hunching and looking down all the time.

And one of the things I detested about myself as a child, I have grown to appreciate. I love being able to grab something off the top shelf for a friend, or a fellow shopper in the grocery store.  By His grace, I now stand tall for my faith in Christ. And I stand tall for my fast-growing daughters- who look up to me (literally and figuratively) and follow my example.

God’s business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.  Psalm 11:7 (MSG)

The Perfect Pair

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Socks, socks, everywhere

and not a match is found

whatever shall I do with them?

I’ll pile them in a mound

to think the dryer ate their mate

is more than I could bear

but even more, I ponder- 

what shall my tootsies wear?

Oh, what to do with mismatched socks?!  I have a laundry bag that I have labeled “The Sock Bag”.  When we do laundry, the unmatched socks go here to live with the other misfits.  Once every so often, I get the girls to dump out the bag and make matches- 10 cents a pair is what I pay for these perfectly paired socks.  In the mornings before school, if the girls can’t find socks to wear, I tell them to go to the sock bag and pick out a pair of mismatched socks.  It’s ok to be different.  Besides, when they wear boots, no one even sees their socks!

This morning, my husband happened to see this sock bag and looked inside.  “Why are my socks in here?!”  I told him it was because one of them did not have a match.  “But I found it in the bag with the other socks!”

I smile inside and say “So, the sock bag is working perfectly!”

He earned his 10 cents fair and square.  And the chore of matching socks is carried by all!

for each one should carry their own load- Galatians 6:5

For I know the plans

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 

How many times have you made plans, only to have them cancelled by some seemingly random thing?

Being a care-free type of girl, I have never been fond of making plans. Planning takes all the fun out of life!  For years I have called my husband our “activities coordinator” because he loves to make plans and see them follow through.  Sometimes they change by the minute, and I tell him to inform me when the plan is “set in stone”.  I love how God brought us together- completely opposites, yet alike in so many ways… he completes me and excels at everything I do not.

We had all sorts of plans made for the weekend- and they have changed by the minute.  As I sat with my husband this morning, I said, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if we just woke up and God told us what to do each day- no advanced notice… we just wake up and go?”   “How do you know that doesn’t already happen?” he asks.   He knows our plans already… what if these changes are just bringing us back to what He intended all along??

Deep thoughts for an early morning…

I quickly get the girls to the bus stop, and I look up and see a full moon setting low in the sky.  Girls!  Look!!  I tell them.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “moon set”!  I get home and quickly grab my phone to take a picture of this strangely beautiful setting moon, and as soon as I go outside, it is gone.  Timing is everything.

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As I walk my dog, I take a new direction. Was this God telling me to do something different? Or did I just change my mind?  I look around me and see the most beautiful clouds where the moon set in the sky.  To think that God created everything in the entire universe- and yet He knows every detail about His plan for me today just boggles my mind.  I don’t know what my plans are yet for the day…they are changing by the minute- but He is in it!  I know God has a better plan than I could ever come up with.  I’m just walking along today, worshipping Him, and  waiting for Him to guide my steps.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

He’s calling

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“He’s Calling”

Sitting with my cup ‘o love  (coffee)

I hear a song sung loud above

the news and all the mindless chatter

and my puppy’s paws of pitter-patter

It beckons me to quickly find

the bird that sings on this deck of mine

amid the frosty trees and dew

I’m thanking God for this day anew

Yes, it took a bird loudly chirping for me to turn off the news, to take out my devotionals and spend time with God.  My day is always brighter when I spend it with Him.  When I went to the window by the deck, I heard many birds singing- almost as if it were spring!  I grabbed my camera and couldn’t find the birds. As soon as I took the picture, the birds flew from their hiding places in my ceramic pots on the deck… funny how I don’t hear them at all now.  I think He simply wanted me to hear His song-and to remind me to give my morning to Him- and Him alone!

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”   Zephaniah 3:17

Lord, thank You for Your song this morning!  Lord, help me see Your light today.  Help me shine light in this dark world, loving others as You love me.  Help me to hear every note of Your song today!